I’m working on a project with a Jane Austen theme for The Write Life Magazine (due out in the August issue). Needless to say, I was thrilled to find out that there was going to be a Jane Austen Tea and Lecture happening at the public library, mere steps from my house.
I fully expected the lecture to be excellent, but I figured the “tea” would probably consist of an industrial carafe of hot water and some tea bags, which would be served in styrofoam cups. It’s not that I was going to be upset about this, I appreciated the sentiment behind it. I also wasn’t intentionally being cynical. It’s just that I’ve worked in the government/non-profit sector for a long time and I figured a tea at the public library would be a bit utilitarian.
Imagine my surprise when I found that carafe full of already brewed tea (special Jane Austen blend, of course) served in lovely teacups (see mine above):
Plus, pretty fresh flowers,
And plates of cheerful cookies,
Expectations – exceeded.
I spoke with the lecturer (Amy Stallings, a doctoral candidate at William & Mary) after her talk and thanked her for sharing her research and insights. At some point in our conversation I mentioned how lovely the event was and what an unexpected surprise the china cups and plates of pretty cookies were. Her response, “Janeites* would never do something halfway.”
I immediately realized the error in my reasoning. When you’re passionate about something, you give it your full attention. Your very best. Throw-away styrofoam is not an option.
*The event was hosted by the Central Virginia Region of The Jane Austen Society of North America. Austen aficionados sometimes refer to themselves as Janeites.